YOUR LIFE: Three years on social, one year in pub, 235 days in a queue

Social media will take up three years of your life as opposed to other uses of your time.

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According to a new study commissioned to launch the new Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch, the average British adult will spend more than three years updating and browsing social media, one year down the pub and seven months waiting in line over the course of an adult lifetime.

The findings of the new study say 92% of Brits agreeing that it feels as though time seems to speed up as we grow older. That finding, however, is obvious. For a four-year-old, a year is 25% of their life whereas for a septuagenarian, it is only 1/70th of their life. Tempus fugit indeed.

The Samsung Time of our Lives Report surveyed 3,000 UK adults and was overseen by leading statistician Dr Geoff Ellis to give the data a semblance of credibility. Other key findings were:

The average Brit in their lifetime will spend:

* 17 years and 41 days sleeping
* 13 years working, including 1 year and 3 months outside of contracted hours
* 8 years and 110 days watching TV
* 3 years and 2 months on holiday
* 1 year and 7 months commuting

The report, surprisingly, does not mention how often we are likely to have sex, although it is hoped that will last longer than commuting and we DON’T use social media when we do it, although that appears to be on the rise as well. As for queuing, that essential civilising part of UK culture remains high, and long may that continue

Social Psychologist Dr Becky Spellman, who led the research, said: “The report reveals that we are busier today than at any other time in history. As we become a generation of people who find it hard to switch off, our brains are adjusting and making us even better multi-taskers. Our ability to juggle, manage and process information is growing at a substantial rate.”

Entrepreneurs in the UK really hate their banks

New figures report that UK entrepreneurs have to spend at least one day a month on financial admin and 67% of small business owners wouldn’t recommend their bank to others.

entreprenuersSmall business owners are wasting considerable amounts of their time on routine financial administraion in the early stages of their companies’ lives, according to a new survey.

The figures released by Tide, ‘a new banking service designed specifically for small business’ – show that 63% of entrepreneurs running startups spend at least one day every month on administrative financial tasks, such as setting up bank accounts, tax calculations, invoices and expenses.

Based on a survey of 149 UK small business owners and sole traders about their experiences of small business banking and of managing their finances, 36% of respondents rated the help and support received from their bank as poor or very poor, while 67% said they weren’t likely to recommend their current business bank to others.

“In the early days of starting a new business, entrepreneurs and sole traders all too easily find themselves tied up in financial red tape. And while the tasks they have to complete aren’t necessarily complicated, they are time-consuming and unfamiliar. There is no reason why banks can’t help their customers to navigate these waters more efficiently and save them time, but they simply aren’t doing so,” said George Bevis, CEO of Tide.

Respondents also revealed their most significant frustrations and challenges in managing their company’s finances. Topping the list was tax calculations (a challenge for 54% of those surveyed), followed by accounting (51%), keeping track of expenses (49%), having to use multiple applications to manage different services (38%), invoicing (30%), and payroll (18%).

Those surveyed were also asked what features were most important in choosing a banking provider. The top Five were easy internet banking (listed by 80%), a good mobile app (66%), free transactions (54%), speed of set up (39%), and the length of the free banking period (36%).

Conversely, some traditional strengths offered by the banking sector such as having a local branch (5%), offering an overdraft (10%) or telephone support (16%) were seen as unimportant, while not a single respondent said that the provision of a chequebook would be a factor in their choice.

Startup Patterns: Bite-sized startup lessons for founders

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One of the biggest patterns for any startup is finding time to learn while growing the company. It’s hard enough dealing with growth and revenues, let alone resource to learn from experts.

Usually, that knowledge comes with being accepted by one of the world’s thousands of accelerators, where tech mentors exchange their expertise and contacts in exchange for equity in the company. Continue reading

Technology finds a way to deal with the mortgage

For many people, acquiring a mortgage is a humiliating process. Help may finally be at hand.

mortgageThe contemporary mortgage crisis is the worst factor of living in a world where land is at a premium and the banks are only interested in mortgaging to those who fit into its primitive algorithm of who is reliable.

In the West before the recession of 2008, such crises were evanescent, banks were lending to anybody who could (and in many cases couldn’t) afford it and the global economy seemed as safe as buying property.

Then it changed forever. As interest rates plummeted, those who were smart enough to be on tracker mortgages saw their monthly payment similarly plummet, but for others the story was a nightmare.

In certain parts of the UK, not least inner-city apartments, people fell into negative equity, revisiting the terrible times of the late 1980s when interest rates were more than 20%.

Over the intervening eight years, however, the housing market in the UK didn’t crash and everything seemed good in the mortgage garden. However, the patina could not cover the rust within; the problem wasn’t with house prices or even mortgage prices, it was with the mortgages themselves.

Banks are now terrified to lend to anybody who lives differently or take risks. Imagine a world of entrepreneurs where venture capitalists refused to lend them money. A ridiculous situation, but that’s the current state of play with mortgages.

It seems incongruous in a world where technology has changed everything since the 2008 crisis that technology hadn’t improved the mortgage process.

At that time platforms such as Airbnb, Uber, JustEat and others hardly existed, but they all served a purpose – they updated legacy systems what were defunct. Where was that magnificent product that banks would use or be disrupted by?

Finally, that process may have been streamlined and it is one that has bypassed the banks. While the likes of Zoopla have also become platforms to search for and price property, its deal last week with UK online mortgage broker Trussle may mark a watershed in how people are judged when applying for money to make a home with.

Following a strategic partnership and investment round earlier this year, Zoopla and Trussle have joined forces to launch a digital service that transforms the finding and financing of a home into one seamless consumer ‘journey’.

This so-called ‘PropTech’ partnership and state-of-the-art algorithm allows homebuyers to search for a property and find out in less than 60 seconds if they qualify to borrow the amount they need for their property of choice.

No time-wasting meetings with bank managers, no modern-day humiliating cap-in-hand Means Tests, an online experience based on people’s real profiles and abilities, not the outdated ones used by banks.

If mortgage-searchers qualify, they will receive a ‘Mortgage in Principle’ in less than five minutes and go on to secure that mortgage within 24 hours.

This affordability data is then also used to drive future searches, presenting newbuyers with other affordable properties in desirable postcodes.

The new service is made possible by Trussle’s proprietary technology. an algorithm that compares more 90 lenders in real time to give potential homebuyers the best value mortgage on the open market, faster than any other broker, bank or building society.

“Innovation in the PropTech sector is accelerating fast, and this partnership with Zoopla will transform the way people buy a home. Whether booking a holiday or buying a car, people are increasingly expecting to use a single platform to make the experience as streamlined as possible.

“We think we’ve finally solve the frustrations of homebuyers across the UK to make the process of buying a home quick, clear and straightforward,” said Ishaan Malhi, Founder and CEO, Trussle.

Established in December 2015 as the UK’s first online mortgage broker, Trussle has been backed by some of Europe’s leading technology investors including LocalGlobe, Ed Wray (founder of Betfair) Ian Hogarth (founder of Songkick), and Seedcamp.

Recent research by the company found that the average homeowner is losing out on saving £2,844 a year by not switching their mortgage at the end of a fixed period. Until they do, banks will continue to make £57 million a day, which totals £22 billion a year.

As with most products of this kind, the success of Trussle will be determined by user acquisition and retention, one that startups often have to throw resources at. However, with the relationship with Zoopla, they go straight to an already engaged audience.

The wait for a modern mortgage product defined by the latest technology, unlike that held by complacent banks, has been a long one. Hopefully, Trussle will disrupt the market to such an extent that bad mortgage business will be over for good.

US road trip diary: Day Two – At the (flooded) crossroads

crossroadsAfter last night’s shenanigans with the Old Bill, today was going to be more Walt Whitman than Dean Moriarty/Neal Cassady, so I went to search for nature, not danger.

Back through Arkansas, no choice, last night’s life-changer, so onwards to Hot Springs to, well (boom-boom), jump in a hot spring.

Different, boring, a town built by the Mafia in the 1920s, all glitz and bling and natural hot water. The Boston Red Sox used to train there, gone to seed, but the only US national park that runs through a town, and the smallest one in America.

Disappointed, Spring Break, town full, got back on the road to Memphis, decided to change plans and go to Clarksville, Mississippi, the place where Bessie Smith died in 1927, went the very scenic route, crossed the mighty, engorged Mississippi river (never seen it before) and headed for the alleged home of the Blues, where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil for music at the crossroads, only to die aged 19.

A town called Clarksville, flooded not by the Mississippi expanded, but the worst rain-storm in 140 years.

Arrived, expected schmaltz, but found glory, a town of benign, crazy people like that book about Savannah, Midnight in the House of Good and Evil or something like that.

Expected tourist New Orleans, but went to a renovated open air cinema, the Roxy where Ike Turner was a cashier and Sam Cooke played between movies. Unbelievable, if in Shoreditch, a $10 million project. Twelve people at the bar.

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Outside stage, at the back of the juke joint (American for shebeen), heard stories about Clarksville and Sam Cooke who was born there, asked where I could buy cigartettes, told the local grocery had closed a week before because the owner had been shot.

Then went to Red’s, a blues bar where Robert Plant and Keith Richard came, but never played. There were 30 people there and the band was amazing.

Clarksville is one of the fifth poorest boroughs in America, all 300 kids (95% black) failed the national algebra test, automation destroyed industry in 1970s, but people are coming back, population up to 20,000 now, up from 18,000 two years ago.

Like Hackney before Hackney was even Hackney, the King of Foreclosures, a three-bedroom mansion downtown costs $60,000. It was one of the best nights of my music life, and I was almost crying with happiness watching proper legacy, fucked-up blues.

I’m not bothering with New Orleans on this trip now, I would only compare it with the magic of Clarksville, ripe for hipsters, perfect for students of the blues.

Might pop into Graceland tomorrow on the way to rest up for some time writing in the Smoky Mountains in Tennesse, but today was as much Moriarty/Cassady as it was Whitman, but it also had Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson, Sam Cooke and the delta Blues I thought were now homogenised. It was a truly magical place, Clarksville, I implore you to go there.

I’m so privileged to have been there at this time, it will soar from here, mark my motherfucking, happy, happy, happy words.